Jules Verne, Chinese folklore and rabbits inspire quirky French restaurant atop I.M Pei's Macau masterpiece

The tall tales of Jules Verne, the mysteries of the moon and the Chinese fairytale of the Jade rabbit have inspired a quirky new French restaurant on the roof of I.M. Pei’s Macau Science Center.

New York design firm Wilson Associates were commissioned to create the design and concept for Le Lapin, which occupies a circular space at the peak of Pei’s distinctive conical building.

As the restaurant is a perfect circle, the design team were inspired to conjure a narrative focused on the moon, taking a leaf from Verne’s classic book De la Terre à la Lune (From the Earth to the Moon).

The spacious 50-seat dining room has a soft, neutral colour palette, while the bar features a backlit Onyx crescent moon.

At the heart of the restaurant is a 16m high wine wall, described by Kwan as “a marvel to behold.” The chef’s US$2m collection of wine is stored across three levels of catwalks and various LED and fiber optic starlight elements evoking stars in the sky.

The Zodiac symbol for the chef running Le Lapin is the rabbit, and the Jade rabbit of Chinese folklore is a companion to the moon goddess. For this reason, Wilson placed a rabbit at the heart of the design narrative.

“The relationship the rabbit and the moon fueled every element of the design, from the entryway to the private dining rooms and restrooms,” Dan Kwan, chief creative officer at Wilson Associates told CLAD. “Our idea was that not only would guests leave talking about the savoury French cuisine, but they would also leave talking about the venue’s symbolism and playful design narrative.

“Monsieur Rabbit is the protagonist, the mascot, the inspiration for this tale. He is a French sophisticate, a wine aficionado, and a bit of a cad. He is a distinct blend of polish and playfulness, an icon based off turn-of- the-century French lithographs. His French ‘je nous se quais’ is found throughout the entire venue, especially in the lux, yet quirky finishes and furnishings.”

Other characters featured in the design narrative include another rabbit and a conniving fox. Bespoke art, finishes, wall coverings and furnishings give a glimpse into the characters’ worlds.

“Le Lapin is representative of the new age of design,” said Kwan. “It’s time for the designer to think beyond the carpet, beyond the walls, beyond the lighting and develop an identity that holistically envelops the overall project intent, creating touch points for the client and patron for years to come.”

Jules Verne  Chinese folklore  Jade rabbit  Le Lapin  Macau Science Center  I.M Pei  Wilson Assoiociates 
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The tall tales of Jules Verne, the mysteries of the moon and the Chinese fairytale of the Jade rabbit have inspired a quirky new French restaurant on the roof of I.M. Pei’s Macau Science Center. New York design firm Wilson Associates were commissioned to create the design and concept for Le Lapin, which occupies a circular space at the peak of Pei’s distinctive conical building. As the restaurant is a
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As the restaurant is a perfect circle, the design team were inspired to conjure a narrative focused on the moon / Wilson Associates
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